Friday, July 29, 2011
Where to put it is always the question. Often there's no ideal answer. A desk in the kitchen can serve as the household command center, with permission slips for the children and supplies for paying the rates and bills, postage and materials for homework.
A desk in the kitchen is hardly ever a quiet workspace, though, in a family home.
A desk in the bedroom is away from the hurly burly of family life, but there are disadvantages to it. For one thing, the desk user's work schedule may not fit neatly with the sleep schedule of his or her spouse. For another, working in the same room where you sleep leads to poor sleep hygiene. It can also, depending on the individual, lead either to mornings lazing in bed when you should be at the desk, or nights at the desk when you should be in bed.
A desk in the living room combines the disadvantages of both the previous alternatives.
If you don't have a separate room for an office, though, you may have little choice. Built in desks in a broad hallway are sometimes seen, but if it wasn't part of the plan, you're not likely to find enough room there.
The solution is probably to push the desk into the best space available, and then think carefully about how you paint it and the surrounding walls. If you have a desk in the kitchen, think about surrounding it with calming green or blue spaces to help counteract the chaos of the kitchen.
If you have a desk in the bedroom, fit it with a cover or cabinet that can be closed. Paint the closed surfaces to match your walls so the desk will fade away visually when it is closed, helping you to separate work from rest time.
A fitted hallway desk can be an oasis in the dull desert of the hall, with stimulating patterns and colours on the wall to which it is attached. You won't spend much time looking at it when you're not using it, so it can be a bright spot.
That living room desk? Choose one that looks as much like the rest of your furniture as possible and consider a rolltop or armoire style to close off the workspace when you're not working.
Are you lucky enough to have a whole room for your home office space? Paint it in your favourite colour, make it as happy a room as you can, and shut the door when you're not using it if it doesn't suit the rest of the house.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
There's a good reason for that. Wall finishes are the most striking, the most eye-catching element of a room. It can be hard for house hunters to look past that kicky geometric wallpaper and imagine their traditional chintz sofas and armchairs in the room.
For your own home, though, you can be bolder. Decorators now are going with bold papers, whimsical murals, and textured finishes. You can, too.
The problem is, what if you go ahead and add foil effects, faux jewels, and trompe l'oeil touches and then you hate it? Fancy wall finishes are more expensive than plain ones, more time consuming, and require more skill. Whether you do it yourself or hire it done, it's more of a commitment than stroking on a coat of white paint.
Here are some options:
- Prepare a good-sized board or piece of foamcore with the treatment you plan. Set it up in the room and live with it for a while.
- Use a visualizer tool such as Anderson's Room Designer or Mannington's Virtual Decorator. These tools don't let you get very elaborate, but you can change wall colours and flooring materials to help you envision the effects.
- Use AutoCAD software to get the best idea. Your decorator might be able to create a view for you.
- Leaf through decorating magazines. More and more rooms are showing rich wall treatments. Remember to compare your own furnishings with what's in the magazine, though.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Rapunzel or Butter Ridge? Chocolate, nougat, toffee,or coffee liqueur? When it comes to colour names for paint, it can be hard to make sense of the system.
Fortunately, you don't have to.
English has only about a dozen truly distinct colour words: red, blue, yellow, green, purple, orange, black, white, grey, brown, and pink. We also have more specialised colour words on which most of us more or less agree, such as fuschia, ecru, and bottle green.
But the human eye can distinguish millions of different shades and variations of colours.
Paint companies bring out new palettes every year, and there are a lot of paint companies, so they ran out of obvious colour names for their paints a long time ago. Now it's up to marketing departments and copywriters to come up with names. The point is to communicate the feeling of the colour, and also to appeal to consumers.
Rapunzel, the beautiful shade of yellow at the top of this post, should bring to mind the long golden hair of the fairy tale heroine trapped in her tower. Butter brings to mind the creamy luxuriousness of that dairy product, but Butter Ridge is also the name of a town and a wine. If you happened to know that, the associations of those things might affect how you saw the colour.
All the shades of brown paint with tasty names like Nougat and Toasted Marshmallow make simple, neutral shades of brown sound more delectable. These examples are a matter of thinking of things that will bring the specific colour to mind and give it an attractive association or feeling.
Sometimes, though, the name is not connected with the colour in any obvious, visual way. Tuscany and Aurora, below, may feel Tuscan and Auroreal to you, but neither name really gives any hint of what the colour will look like. Murobond has a deep black called "Falconer" and a dark brown called "Chimney Sweep," when logically it might have made more sense to swap the terms and give the sootier shade to the sweep.
In choosing paints, then, it makes sense to disregard the name and go entirely by the visual effect of the colour. However, more than half of respondents to a recent poll admitted that they pick their paints at least partly by the name. Clearly, the paint companies are doing a good job.
Play the Paint Game a colour matching quiz using paint colours from the Dulux range.If you can tell Mexican Mosaic from Bongo Jazz, you're a Paint God!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
A recent study in Tasmania found problems with surface preparation, paint choice, and overall workmanship, not to mention jobs that simply didn't get finished.
However, the move to license house painters isn't based just on the quality of work being delivered. There are health and safety issues as well. An uninsured painter who is injured during a job sometimes becomes the responsibility of the homeowner -- something that homeowner surely didn't foresee.
The solution, until the national licensing scheme is settled, is for home owners to take the initiative to check references, make certain that the painters they choose have all served their four year apprenticeships and completed training, and to check on the insurance of the painters and decorators that they hire.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
A successful gallery wall requires a collection of objects, a clear expanse of wall, and an eye for design.
If you have a fine collection of small and large framed art pieces, you're in luck. If not, you can let your creativity lead you to create one. Here are some ideas for objects:
- Family photos. If they're all the same size, you can mat them and put them into different sizes of frames.
- You can also use pictures that are all the same size; if you do, put them into a regular grid for the best effect.
- Illustrations from books or calendars.
- Papers or fabrics.
- Canvases that you paint yourself. Use random stripes and blocks of colour, or stencil them.
- Fairly flat objects like plates, tiles, or signs.
- Sea shells or other light objects.
- Use a big piece of butcher paper, the same size as the wall section where you plan to put your gallery.
- Lay it on the floor.
- Lay all your objects on it and move them around till you like the arrangement.
- Draw around the objects and note what goes where -- just write by the outline, "photo of Jim" or any phrase that will help you remember.
- Use a craft knife to cut out the outlines.
- Hold the paper up to the wall and transfer the markings with an X of painter's tape.
- Using the paper for reference, hang your pictures or objects on the wall.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
"Follow the sun," when painters use the term, refers not to the Beatle's song nor to sophisticated methods of global outsourcing, but to the practice of working around the outside of a building while painting. The idea is to be in the shade while painting, so that the paint will not dry too quickly and the painter won't suffer from heat exhaustion.
Heat exhaustion isn't an issue on cool days, but following the sun is still good practice. Winter sunlight directly on your paint will give you a streaky paint job just as surely as summer sun will.
For a good exterior finish, it's essential to paint with a smooth, even coating and to blend the new paint into the paint that's already on the walls before it dries.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Warm A warm tone like gold, terra cotta, or spicy pink will make your place feel cosy all winter. Reds, oranges, and yellows are all warm colours, and these colours will actually make people in a room feel warmer. Metallic gold or bronze touches, lanterns like the ones in this picture, candles, fires, and cushy textures also carry that warm feeling.
Cool It may seem like a contradiction, but effective winter decorating is just as likely to be cool as warm. Blue, silver, white, and icy pastels look wintery even if you're keeping your room toasty warm. Make a bouquet of bare branches and white hothouse flowers for a wonderful winter effect. Purple or pure greys mixed with any shade of blue will feel crisp and cool.
Sparkly Get a frosty feel with sequins, spangles, and glitter. Mirrors, glass prisms, and tinsel fabrics make a cool shine, while yellowed light glinting from amber glass or polished brass gives a warm glow. Either one is perfect for winter.
If you want to paint your home or office in wintry tones, look at neutrals like these, both warm and cool. Then choose ideas from the lists above to carry out with soft furnishing and decorative objects. Add a bit of sparkly cool to the pale greys and whites, or cozy up the golds and ivories. Either way, you'll still love the look when spring comes.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
At this time of year, birds may be seeking shelter from the cold, and they may be doing that seeking right around your home. You may be happy to have birds under the eaves, but that doesn’t mean you want them in the vents. It certainly doesn’t mean you want the staining and smell of birds on your paint work, or that you want to have to clean the surface of their debris when you get ready to paint your home or your commercial building.
The worst time to take care of this problem is when there’s a nest full of babies in spring. The best time is when the birds haven’t yet nested. Check the vents under your eaves, as well as any stove vents or dryer vents, and remove any nesting materials left from previous years.
Then put wire grids onto the vents. This will allow air into and out of your home, but will prevent nesting. It takes about 20 minutes to install either a specialized bird vent guard or simply to tack wire mesh in place, and the cost is minimal.
Your painters will thank you -- and you'll be glad not to pay for the extra time involved in dealing with birds and birds' nests while painting.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Economics research reports say that painting will be among the top ten growth industries of the decade, as Australians continue to prefer skilled tradesmen for projects that used to be more often done by home owners.
Partly this reflects the increasing population of the country and improvements in the economy, but it also reflects a growing appreciation of our time. "Time-poor" is a description that fits a lot of us nowadays, and anything scarce becomes more precious.
When you make the sensible decision to hire a professional to do your painting and decorating, you should also take sensible precautions. The growing demand for our services will encourage newcomers to the trade. We don't object to newcomers, of course, but you won't be happy with a job done on the cheap by unqualified people looking to cash in on the opportunity.
Are the painters you're considering Master Painters? Have they received any awards? Are they certified by a well known company such as Dulux or licensed? Are they OH&S compliant, with green tickets and working on heights tickets? Will they know how to deal with issues such as lead or asbestos if they come up in the course of your project?
Do yourself a favor and choose an experienced firm of painters and decorators. If you're in Sydney, call Courtney and Wise at 9958 1099. We've been in business since 1956, and our credentials will satisfy the most discerning homeowner.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
We don't like to let winter change the way we live our lives. Even if you surf all winter long, though, you should think twice about painting exteriors in winter.
Even if you're not discouraged by the possibility of slippery ice and shivering, you need to have specialized knowledge and skills to paint in colder weather. New paint formulations are designed to allow painting in cooler weather than used to be possible, but you can't ignore dew.
The moisture that comes out in the mornings on plants or causes little ribbons of mist over damp grass looks picturesque. The moisture that comes out of your walls can cause blistering in your paint. It can cause "bloom," a milky discolouration. It can even freeze and expand, causing paint failures on freshly painted surfaces.
Professional painters still paint in the winter. How do we do it? First, we wait till later in the day, when the surfaces we're going to paint are more likely to be dry. Second, we stop earlier in the day, before evening moisture sets in. Third, we give the paint a longer drying time between coats.
This means that painting can take longer in the winter. Since you're less likely to end up on a long waiting list, though, it may work out the same in the end.
Note that all these points are for exterior painting. You can paint indoors in the winter, on dry days, with proper ventilation. Cooler temperatures can actually make indoor painting more pleasant.